A skull that has been preserved almost perfectly for more than 140,000 years in northeastern China represents a new species of ancient people.
And surprisingly, these species are more closely related to us than even Neanderthals. This could fundamentally alter our understanding of human evolution
As per scientists, it belonged to a large-brained male in his 50s with deep set eyes and thick brow ridges.
His face was wide, it had flat, low cheekbones that made him resemble modern people more closely than other extinct members of the human family tree.
The research team has linked the specimen to other Chinese fossil findings. They are calling the species Homo longi or ‘Dragon Man,’ a reference to the region where it was discovered.
The Harbin cranium was first found in 1933 in the city of same name. As per reports, it was hidden in a well for 85 years to protect it from the Japanese army.
On analysing it further, the Harbin group is more closely linked to H. sapiens than the Neanderthals are. That means Harbin shared a more recent common ancestor with us than the Neanderthals did.
This would apparently make Dragon Man our ‘sister species’ and a closer ancestor of modern man than the Neanderthals.
The skull dates back at least 146,000 years. This places it in the Middle Pleistocene. Neanderthals and Denisovans were genetically closer to each other than to Sapiens. However, the new study suggests that H. longi were more anatomically similar to us than Neanderthals.
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